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Guest column by Pageland Mayor Brian Hough

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2011 was a year of improvement

The past year saw some positive changes for Pageland and it was a year that set the stage for even bigger improvements in the coming year. Among the highlights of 2011 were many projects to beautify the town.
In January, the Pageland Town Council commissioned a new state champions sign to be erected on Hwy. 9, east of town. The new sign was ordered after the Central High School football team won the 2010 Class AA state championship.
A few months later, the Lady Eagles won the 2011 state softball title.
In February, the town council approved an ordinance ratifying the agreement to trade land the Town owns on South Arant Street in exchange for the land and buildings of the Lynches River Electric Cooperative on West McGregor Street. The exchange made it possible for the Coop. to build a new headquarters complex on the new site. The Town will relocate its Town Hall and Public Works departments to the more spacious Coop. headquarters this spring.
In March, council approved a financing agreement with First Citizens Bank in Pageland which allowed the Town to purchase a new fire truck. The new truck will benefit all homeowners and businesses in town by helping the fire department to maintain its excellent Class 3 fire insurance rating.
Council also gained a new member in March. Jason Evans was sworn in after winning a special election in February.
In April, the 2nd Annual Heritage Music and Arts Festival was held in Pageland. A new treat for local youngsters was a chance to skate at the community center during the festival.
Council members painted the columns in front of the community center during Clean Up Week in April. Several downtown buildings also received facelifts thanks to volunteers from the Pageland Pride Partnership, Wal-Mart Distribution Center and various civic groups. The Chamber of Commerce installed a second set of steps off Pearl Street at Moore’s Park, making the park more accessible.
The beautification effort continued in May with the awarding of five Building Improvement Grants (BIG) for local businesses to use in making improvements to their storefronts. In the past four years, more than a dozen buildings have been renovated through the Town funded BIG program.
In June, council approved a historic buildings ordinance. This will allow building owners to seek state and federal grant money to preserve the Town’s historic buildings.
In July, the Town authorized the administrator to create a Facebook site for the Town to keep citizens informed of Town policies and upcoming events.
Town Council members handed out more than 400 slices of watermelon at the hospitality tent during the Watermelon Festival this year. The Chamber of Commerce sponsored event was a huge success.
The Town was saddened by the death of former mayor Carroll Faile on September 18, 2011. Faile was theTown’s longest serving mayor with 16 years of service from 1994 through 2009.
In November, council was informed by engineer Nicky Kellahan that the long awaited sewer pipeline project connecting Pageland to a new state-of-the-art treatment plant in McBee, operated by Alligator Rural Water & Sewer Co., will begin in 2012. The project will be divided into two phases with phase one to include the installation of new radio read water meters, fixing the Town’s leaky sewer lines, and refinancing of the Town’s existing water and sewer debt at a much lower interest rate.
Phase two, to be completed the following year, will involve construction of the pipeline from the N.C. state line to the sewer plant south of McBee.
In December, council approved the purchase of new roll out garbage containers for all Town residents as part of the 2012 Town Budget Ordinance. The new carts will be ordered this spring. In addition to making trash collection more efficient, the new carts should eliminate much of the problem of trash placed in bags being scattered by dogs.
The past year has been a good one for the Town and we hope to see even more improvements in the coming year.
On behalf of the Town Council, I would like to wish all Pageland residents a Happy New Year in 2012.